Anna Lo MLA said “The Minister must now ensure that his comments today are followed up with positive actions to increase arts funding to the level provided in the rest of the UK.
“Our local arts scene has had a raw deal for too long and the Minister must take note of the overwhelming support for the arts from all parties today.
“A vibrant arts sphere will see more people visiting Northern Ireland and this increased tourism will greatly boost the local economy.
“The arts are a vitally important area, not only to tourism but also to community cohesion. Arts projects bring people together and they help enrich the cultural tapestry of Northern Ireland. Our society is moving forward away from its troubled past and we must do everything in our power to get this message across to the rest of the world. A strong arts sector will help us push Northern Ireland forward as a revitalized region in the tourism sphere.”
Nick Livingston, Director of Strategic Development for the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, who was a spectator at the arts funding motion debate, said, “The Arts Council welcomes the motion presented by Alliance MLA Anna Lo for more funding for the arts.
The spending budgets for Northern Ireland’s government departments are to be decided shortly so this is a key time to raise the profile of the arts and make people aware of the vital contribution the arts make to Northern Ireland’s health, education, social, cultural and economic prosperity.
It is now time for the government to invest in the arts in Northern Ireland in a way which provides parity of treatment with other parts of the United Kingdom and Ireland. A modest increase to our budget in relation to the overall public funding cake will make a dramatic difference to the arts and the prosperity of Northern Ireland.”